If your body clock is messed up or you just can't sleep when you really want to or have to, here are science-backed ways to finally hit the Zs:
1. Try to stay awake.
A study done by researchers at the University of Glasgow found that some reverse psychology can help you fall asleep fast by relieving you of anxiety. Lie in bed and try to stay awake by keeping your eyes open. You'll fall asleep quickly just like the participants in the study.
2. Make your room cool and take a warm shower.
Your body temperature is important in regulating your body clock. When you fall asleep, your body temp drops. So by cooling your room, you help your body get ready for sleep.
Taking a hot shower before you go to your cold room can further help you fall asleep for two reasons. One is it causes your body temperature to drop more; the other is a shower or bath is relaxing, so it'll help you feel sleepy.
3. Scent your room with lavender.
If you're into fragrances, perfuming your room with lavender or just sniffing lavender oil can do the trick. A study at Wesleyan University found that those who smelled lavender for two minutes at three 10-minute intervals had deep sleep and felt more energized in the morning.
4. Listen to music.
Slow and soft classical or instrumental music can lull you to sleep. A study found that people ages 19 to 28 who listened to relaxing classical music for 45 minutes before bed showed significant improvement in sleep quality; it helps you sleep longer and deeper. It even decreased symptoms of depression!
If music doesn't work for you, try listening to the sound of soft rain or waves crashing on the shore.
One recent Swiss study suggests that completing an intense workout 90 minutes before bed may help you fall asleep faster by reducing your levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
6. Read a book.
If you're the type to feel sleepy or tired as soon as you open a book, this one's perfect for you. Reading a book will distract you from whatever you're thinking or feeling, and it'll make your eyes tired and want to rest.
7. Try the 4-7-8 breathing exercise.
How it works: Inhale for four seconds, hold your breath for seven seconds, and exhale for eight seconds. It's supposed to help you fall asleep in a minute by relaxing you. This breathing technique increases the amount of oxygen in your blood stream, slows down your heart rate, and releases more carbon dioxide from your lungs.
If you got a lot on your mind and just can't get those thoughts, worries, or rants out, get your pen and paper and start writing them down. That should keep you from worrying more and finally let your brain relax.
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